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Press Release

October 16, 2013

Contact: Matt Anderson, 212-709-1691

GOVERNOR CUOMO DEPLOYS MOBILE COMMAND CENTER TO DUTCHESS COUNTY TO ASSIST HOMEOWNERS FACING POSSIBLE FORECLOSURE

Department of Financial Services Help Available for Homeowners during Mobile Command Center Visits to Poughkeepsie on Oct 17 and Wappinger Falls on Oct 18

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that he is deploying the Department of Financial Services (DFS) Mobile Command Center (MCC) to Dutchess County to help provide foreclosure prevention assistance to struggling homeowners.

Department representatives will be available to meet homeowners in the MCC from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at these locations:
· Thursday, Oct. 17 – Poughkeepsie Municipal Lot, 35 Catharine St., Poughkeepsie
· Friday, Oct. 18 – Home Depot parking lot, 1570 Old Route 9, Wappinger Falls

“State government is committed to delivering assistance to as many struggling homeowners as possible through our foreclosure prevention initiative,” said Governor Cuomo. “Foreclosures negatively impact families and communities across the state, and we want to continue to get the word out to New Yorkers that there are potential tools and resources available to help them save their homes. This week, DFS staff will be on hand in Dutchess County to offer advice and assistance, so I encourage homeowners who may be facing foreclosure to come out and meet with our foreclosure prevention specialists, or contact DFS as soon as possible.”

Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, said, “The Cuomo Administration is deploying on the ground in local communities in Dutchess County and around the state to offer assistance to financially struggling homeowners. Our foreclosure relief initiative enables New Yorkers to meet one-on-one with specialists who can give them get practical, common sense guidance on options they can pursue to help save their homes.”

John Tkazyik, Mayor of Poughkeepsie, said, “I would like to thank the Department of Financial Services for allowing our residents the opportunity to learn more about addressing the challenges of homeownership and mortgage management.”

The DFS foreclosure prevention program has been used to extend help to homeowners facing foreclosure since Governor Cuomo launched the program last year. The outreach program has visited locations throughout the state with high foreclosure rates.

Governor Cuomo will also deploy the DFS Mobile Command Center to additional locations in the coming days and weeks to help continue reaching struggling homeowners. Specific locations and dates will be announced shortly.

State Resources Available to Homeowners

The state’s foreclosure prevention program enables homeowners to have confidential meetings with DFS representatives who assess where homeowners are in the pre-foreclosure or foreclosure process. Depending on individuals’ specific situations, the specialists may offer homeowners assistance in such areas as:
· Applying for mortgage modifications or providing help to homeowners who have already sought mortgage modifications.
· Interceding on behalf of homeowners with their mortgage lenders or servicers.
· Assisting homeowners in communicating with mortgage lenders or servicers.
· Accepting complaints from homeowners who believe they were victimized by mortgage lending abuses, so complaints can be investigated by the Department.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved housing counselors will also be available to offer assistance to homeowners.

DFS also urged homeowners to be cautious of mortgage rescue scams, which may be marketed by private businesses. For example, homeowners should be wary of anyone asking for an upfront fee in exchange for getting a loan modification, saving a home from default or stopping a foreclosure or tax sale. New York law prohibits the collection of such fees in most cases. Also, many not-for-profit housing counselors will help homeowners negotiate with lenders for free.

Additionally, New Yorkers should be wary of anyone who says they can save a home if a homeowner signs or transfers the deed to his or her house over to them so the homeowner can catch up on mortgage payments or refinance a loan. A homeowner should never submit mortgage payments to anyone other than the homeowner’s mortgage company without its approval.

Homeowners unable to meet personally with DFS representatives are urged to the call the Department’s toll-free foreclosure hotline, 1-800-342-3736, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Homeowners may also file complaints using the Department website at www.ny.dfs.gov.

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